5 UniFiji students awarded with the title of Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce

5 UniFiji students awarded with the title of Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Friday 12/04/2024
Peniasi Ciri,Sisikeleila Tuvatuva,Pranav Prasad,Unaisi Vuidama and Shafeen Ahmed

Five students from the University of Fiji have been awarded with the title of Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, commonly known as the RSA after the University reached another milestone with the launch of its Royal Society of Arts Junior Fellows Programme at the British High Commissioner's residence.

The new Junior Fellows of the RSA are University of Fiji School of Law students, Peniasi Ciri, Adi Unaisi Vuidama, Shafeen Ahmed and Sisikeleila Tuvatuva and School of Science and Technology student, Pranav Prasad.

The Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce is a unique British global organisation whose Fellows are a group of change-makers enabling people, places and the planet to flourish in harmony.

The RSA was first established in 1754 by entrepreneur William Shipley supported by eminent scientists, industrialists and social reformers of the time which was at the height of the industrial revolution and agrarian reform in Britain.

These developments also caused social strains among the emerging working classes which attracted the attention of social reformers who wanted to improve labour conditions in the factories and plantations.

Well-known RSA Fellows over the past 270 years include names such as Adam Smith, Charles Dickens, Alexander Bell, William Wilberforce, Thomas Edison, Karl Marx and Marie Curie.

Stephen Hawkins and Nelson Mandela, were 20th century famous RSA Fellows.

Another well-known Fellow is world-famous environmentalist David Attenborough.

The President of the RSA is Princess Anne.

While speaking at the event Fijian RSA Fellow and University of Fiji Vice Chancellor, Professor Shaista Shameem says for the University of Fiji students to have been selected to become Junior Fellows was an honour for the University because these students joined a long list of illustrious Fellows, all of them prominent inventors, social reformers, scientists and philosophers of their times who had changed the world for the better.

She says the 21st century Fellows were working towards transforming the world in the face of the existential threat facing planet earth and humanity due to climate crises compounded by never-ending conflicts and impoverishment of large numbers of people everywhere.

Professor Shameem says UniFiji Fellows will similarly be able to collaborate with young Fellows internationally on joint projects.

She further says that the Junior Fellows will now be able to add the FRSA title next to their names.

She adds this prestigious title will open doors for them and provide future employment opportunities in Fiji and beyond.

The Vice Chancellor says the Junior Fellows will be provided with an RSA Desk at the University to enable them to achieve their respective visions for social change supported by the University.

The Chief Executive Officer of the RSA, Andy Haldane addressed the event from London by congratulating the University and expressing interest in working with the young people nominated for the Fellows title.

Dr Erica Meyers-Davies from the RSA Oceania Board also spoke at the event highlighting the work of the RSA Oceania in new innovations across Oceania.

The RSA Oceania Board members will provide mentoring support to the University of Fiji Junior Fellows.

The students were selected from a competition where all students of the University were asked to submit a 500-word essay on how their proposed innovations would facilitate the RSA Design for Life mission, namely, to effect radical societal change to enable people, places and the planet to flourish harmoniously across the world.

The University of Fiji student ideas that attracted the Junior Fellows awards include sustainable furniture design, developing a renewable energy innovation for small gardens, designing internet-based technology for a healthier home environment, developing heritage harmony design to reclaim, reinterpret and celebrate Fijians’ cultural heritage in meaningful and sustainable ways, and finding ways to guard Fijian coastal areas facing the effects of climate change.

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